Friday, February 29, 2008

A quick summary so far

The flight went well... I met Scotty and Dave in the airport in Tokyo. All of us were tired after the 14 or so hour flight. I fell asleep right away on the 4 hour flight from Tokyo to Beijing. Passport Control and Customs were easy breezy, and there was a travel person with a sign standing right outside the door as we left customs. The problem was that My name wasn't on the Arrivals list, and so they had just sent a car for two people. By the time we got all the luggage in the car, there was no room to move even an inch. 45 minutes later, we arrived at the hotel and checked in... no problems. 
The next morning we got up and met for breakfast and then met our tour guide Sophie. We hopped in cabs and went to the Summer palace. A very beautiful place! we walked for about 3-4 hours taking tons of photos everywhere we went. By the time we finished at the Summer Palace, we were all so hungry, we couldn't think about anything else but food. Sophie took us to this real local dive and we ordered a ton of food. It was all very tasty and there was more than we could possibly eat. The bill came... 20 bucks US. 6 guys eating for 3 bucks each with Beer and about 8 entrees. Brilliant!

We came back to the hotel and I was just dead... In bed by 8:00 pm and sleeping like a baby.

Day 2 
We met for breakfast and then hopped in a van that Sophie had rented. The driver took us about 2 hours out of town, and dropped us off at the Great Wall of China. We took a tram up to the Wall, and then walked down the Wall for almost 3 hours. It was really a peaceful experience. We think we walked on the wall for over a mile and a half. We ended up at the top of the toboggan run, which is like an alpine slide. It was a metal chute and you sat in this little car with just a hand brake and rocket yourself down the mountain. It was really great!
Back in the parking lot, our driver was still there, waiting patiently. He drove us 2 hours back to the hotel, and we paid him about $100 bucks. 9 hours work with a van for only $100 bucks.

We all decided to go to the Silk market after we ate another huge lunch. It was rush hour and the traffic was just insane. We got divided up into two cabs, and about 35 minutes into the journey, the second cab got hit by a bus. no damage, but the cabbies and the bus driver really got into it right in the middle of the highway.

The Silk market was just insane, tons of Chinese girls attacking you from every angle, trying to get you to buy bags and clothes. Anything you want.... Coach purses, Nike Clothes, Rolex, North Face, Everything you want... just none of it real. The quality is impressive though. Rick, Rob and I went to the 6th floor and found this nice watch shop.  The girls asked us if we wanted imitation watches. So, they took us into the back and there were just beautiful watches everywhere... all fake but very hard to tell. Rick had his real Rolex on, and we held the exact same model of the fake next to it, and we were all very impressed at how close they have been able to copy them. 
So, Rob and I both bought two Rolex, and I bought another nice looking watch by Porche Designs... All for about $40 each. We decided that even in the states in Walmart you can't find a good watch for $40.

Then Rob's friend Tamara met up with us. She is originally from NY but lives in Beijing as a teacher. She offered to take all of us to a cool area to walk around and take some photos. 
We ended up in this square, were people bring boom boxes and then these older couples ballroom dance outside all over the square. It was really beautiful to watch them enjoying their everyday lives in their culture. We stopped at a cool local bar as we walked around the lake and had a drink. The smell of the wood burning in the 55 gallon drum with the stove pipe sticking out of it was really fun and made the place feel cozy. 

We finished walking around and ended up on this street where there was a guy making what Rob calls his Chinese Burrito. He would spread batter on the griddle and then drop an egg on it. Spreading the egg around he then covered it in a bean paste, added some chives and this cracker that looked like a rice cake. Once he rolled it up, he dropped it in a plastic back and Rob had some nasty looking street food. I couldn't do it.. but I respect Rob for living the dream!

Back to the hotel and sleep sleep sleep. The next two days were all about work and setting up the show. Today is the first day of the actual show and it has been tough but it has gone well. Tomorrow the show ends around noon and we are off to do more sightseeing. 

1 comment:

mike said...

Steve,

It has been so awesome to catch your updates on the road, especially in china!

Keep it up!

Mike@hyite.com